Wok Wok

About

Wok Wok is my go-to spot for Asian comfort food. It’s affordable and delicious. They serve up all sorts of asian classics: roti, chow fun, stews, curries, laksas, and claypots of all sorts. Pretty much everything on their menu gets me excited.

As for the space, Wok Wok resides in an unpretentious shop tucked under the street in Chinatown. You’re immediately greeted by a front desk crowded with a few iPads too many, random papers papers strewn about, asian charms, and loosely stacked plastic containers full of Malaysian pastries. To some, it may come off as off-putting. To me, it’s a sign that I’m in the right place.

The Food

Make sure you get the roti prata to start. If you’ve never had roti, it’s essentially a thin crispy bread (or pancake) that you dip in curry. Wok wok’s rendition comes with a wonderful potato and chicken curry. It’s so much fun dipping the crispy, flakey, and chewy roti into the oh so flavorful curry. Ashley and I shared one the first couple of times we visited, and by our third time we were ordering one each. It’s a great dish to share but it’s so good you won’t want to! Yes, you heard right. We actually went three times in one month. Mostly because Wok Wok has been doing 45% cash back through Seated on Mondays. It’s just too good of a deal to pass up! If you don’t know what Seated is, you can read my review here.

roti from wok wok

Next up is the the cantonese chow fun. Get this. It’s fire. One of the best chow funs I’ve had in some time– it’s covered in gravy, piled high with shrimp, scallops, and the most tender chicken. Don’t skip this one!

a fantastic chow fun, probably the best dish at wok wok

If you’d rather have noodles with soup, the har mee is delightful. You get not just egg noodles, but vermicelli noodles too! The shrimp broth looks like it would be a lighter broth, but has a surprisingly deep shrimp flavor.

Har Mee from Wok Wok with noodle pull

Another great pick is the eggplant, pork, and salted fish claypot is only for those with more adventurous taste. The salted fish gives off a strong, almost stinky smell, but if you can get past that, you end up with an extremely tasty dish.

eggplant claypot looks delicious

I tend to stay away from meatless menu items, but I couldn’t resist trying out the homemade tofu after seeing it on the table next to ours. It’s the most tender egg tofu tucked under heaps of veggies and sauce, and it’s fantastic to eat over rice.

Other notable dishes are the crispy fried noodles with gravy and salt & pepper porkchops. You just can’t go wrong with them!

Some misses for us: mango sticky rice, and popcorn chicken.

In Conclusion

All in all, Wok Wok is an awesome option if you’re in the mood for some good, unpretentious asian food. I’m giving Wok Wok a four because while the food is great, it’s not the best of the best (but it is cheap!), and there are some definite misses on the menu. That being said, Wok Wok is one of my favorite restaurants right now and I highly recommend!

The Braised Shop

I am excited as hell on The Braised Shop. It’s a tiny restaurant hiding at the tail end of St. Marks that specializes in Taiwanese braised bowls. In Taiwan, it’s traditional street food. In New York, you can group it in with the brick-and-mortar fast-casual build-your-bowl places. But it definitely stands out from the rest due to it’s authenticity. While still delicious, most build-your-bowl places are not authentic to their cuisines in the way that The Braised Shop is (I’m looking at you, Chipotle). The Braised Shop beautifully marries the authenticity of Taiwanese street food with what you’d expect from a modern fast-casual spot in the East Village.

Walking in, you’re almost surprised at how small it is. With only two tables, the space is smaller than most ice cream shops. Luckily, it’s a surprisingly portable meal that you can take to-go and eat somewhere nearby if it’s busy. You order by circling meats, veggies, and noodles on a clipboard menu. They braise your selections, and pack all the goods into a tall soup bowl.

The braised shop menu

The food is fantastic. Everything is perfectly cooked and has a rich spiced-soy flavor. In Chinese, we call this “lu wei”, which directly translates to “braised flavor”. Everything is braised in the same liquid, but there are still very distinct flavors and textures in all of the ingredients. Make sure to try the beef shank and oyster mushrooms! So tender! If you like fatty meat, the pork belly is great too. At the counter, there’s a self-service tubs of minced garlic, green onion, and chili oil, where you can find me dumping obscene amounts of garlic into my bowl.

Bowl of noodles and meatClose up shot of the braised shop noodle bowl with lots of meat

(look at how much meat they give you!)

The Braised Shop is something I haven’t been able to stop thinking about since I went for the first time last week. So much so that I went very far out of my way to get it a second time a week later. I’m still looking forward to going back next time I’m in the East Village. Make sure to give The Braised Shop a try next time you’re in the area!

Nom Wah Tea Parlor

My expectations of Nom Wah were pretty high, considering that they are one of the most famous dim sum spots in the city. There’s always a line out the door, and they even got a 7.8 from the guys over at The Infatuation. So naturally, I could not resist popping in when I walked by and saw there was no line (I had a random Monday off to show my friends around the city). Eh. It was very very average. For most restaurants, average is not such a bad thing to be. But when you’re a dim sum shop with so much history and hype, average becomes bad. Now I know how my mom felt when I got a C- on my high school Chinese test (I’m Chinese).

The Food

We didn’t order a whole lot because we had other dinner plans and just wanted to try the place out. We ordered:

  • Shrimp Dumpling
  • Shrimp Noodle roll
  • Shu mai 
  • Chicken feet
  • Sticky rice with sausage

Everything was just very average. Nothing special. None of it was bad, but nothing stood out either. I don’t think I’d order any of the dishes again, because there’s just better shit out there.

The Service

The service was surprisingly good. Generally my expectation of service in a dim sum place like this is low to nonexistent. Nom Wah doesn’t have the traditional dim sum carts being pushed around, they just do menu-order. I like the carts because I think they’re fun.

Final Thoughts

I don’t think Nom Wah is worth your time. At this point, I’d categorize it under “tourist trap”. Although there’s a lot of history with this place, it just doesn’t live up to the hype. If you’re going to wait over an hour for dim sum, go to Tim Ho Wan.